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This is very cool!
Hey, The World Is Square and Radiostorm:
I've been running campaigns in my own, homebrewed Slavic-myth-themed campaign world (a fantasy version of real-world medieval Russia, in fact) for about 13 years now. (I'm from Russia myself, and grew up reading all the old stories about Baba Yaga and Zmei Gorynych and the like; and of course I've done a good deal of historical/mythological research over the years to supplement that.)
If you have any questions about Russian/Slavic myths/stories, or names/words, or even about my experience running campaigns in a setting with this theme, feel free to PM me!
Follow-up to my above post — the following spells do not allow spell resistance and thus are not permissible selections for spell immunity (greater or otherwise):
No, no you can't.
The warded creature effectively has unbeatable spell resistance regarding the specified spell or spells. Naturally, that immunity doesn't protect a creature from spells for which spell resistance doesn't apply.
Edit: So the very first thing an enemy spellcaster would do is dispel the PCs' spell immunity... and then cast big scary spells at them to his heart's content.
Edit #2: Or, of course, an enemy caster can just use one of the many non-SR-allowing spells out there in the first place, and spell immunity will be of no help there either.
Buri Reborn wrote:
It fails to be critical thought when you didn't even consider the case of targeting individual pieces of the structure rather than the whole floor or wall, as if a floor or wall is just a single thing and not made of anything else. It's disingenuous. It appears to be thought out but is actually lazy.
I explained why targeting individual pieces of the structure wouldn't work (and would in many cases actually be impossible). Did you read my analysis of why this wouldn't work? If so, do you disagree with it? In what way is it mistaken? Please be specific.
If that's how you'd run it, you should include it as a house rule or have some general rule which touches on the limitations of the "actual" physics you use to mesh mundane and magic in your game.
Except it's not a "house rule". A house rule is when you modify, override, or ignore the existing rules in some way. Please point out which existing rule you think I am modifying, overriding, or ignoring.
Edit: I agree that it's a very good to have a conversation with players to calibrate everyone's expectations appropriately. When I run campaigns, I generally make it clear that as far as I'm concerned, anything the rules don't explicitly call out, can be assumed to work exactly like it does in real life: people have to visit the outhouse (even though there's no pooping in the rules), gravity, magnetism, and other physical forces work exactly like they do IRL (unless some magic is afoot to change that), mundane plants and animals and materials like wood or iron act like they do in reality (except where specified), etc.
At any rate, the player should have some kind of indication before hand that their goal clearly should not work.
Of course. The conversation would go like this:
Player: I cast Shatter on the wall, to make a big hole in it so I can escape!
That a concept of load bearing parts of a building even exists and are super commonly understood to be part of any structure, just washing away the entire effort without actually considering how it could be done is not being a good GM and simply shows how little thought you've put into the situation.
Once again, please read my analysis of why "Shatter the load bearing beam" is likely to fail (it's the weight). If you think what I said was mistaken, explain why. That said: the "load bearing part of a building" could apply in some situations. It won't apply to:
1. Break through the wall to escape.
It could apply in some small subset of "collapse the ceiling" or "collapse this entire structure" (even less likely). (But, again, probably won't work — as I explained.)
If one of your players chose this spell and, thus, devoted resources to pull off a specific effect, and you just rolled your eyes and said no, you would not be doing your due diligence to enable that player to have fun and participate in the game. ...
This part of your post touches on a broader point, which is why I saved it for last.
No. No, if one of my players chose this spell, didn't read it or didn't understand how it works, and then tried to use it in a situation without thinking about whether it actually makes sense for the spell to apply to that situation — and if I, then, allowed the spell to work — that would mean that I would not be doing my due diligence.
I can't stand playing in games where a GM would let Shatter work as broadly as Aelreth described — never mind that the rules, the actual spell text, forbids it, never minds that it makes no sense if you think about it for more than two seconds — just because it "enables the player to have fun and participate". My interest in playing drops away immediately, because if a GM allows this sort of thing, what that tells me is that either the GM doesn't know the rules (and doesn't care enough to know the rules) — or, even worse, that he just doesn't care, and will let any old thing fly as long as it "enables a player to have fun".
That sort of thing renders choice meaningless. It renders system mastery meaningless. It means that it doesn't matter if I put any effort into picking spells, or thinking of clever ways to use my character's abilities to solve problems — in other words, if I actually exercise creativity within the constraints provided by the rules — because another player, who didn't make any effort, can just say "hey I can use Shatter to Kool-Aid-Man my way through the wall, right?" and the GM will go "why not, lol", because it's "fun" and he's incapable of saying "no". At that point, rules mean nothing, constraints mean nothing, and so creativity and cleverness also mean nothing.
My job as a GM is to know the rules, understand the restrictions, and to be firm, predictable, and consistent in enforcing them; to provide a consistent, coherent world for the players to act within. My job as a player is to know the rules, understand the restrictions, and come up with clever and creative ways to solve the challenges the GM places before me, while operating within those rules and restrictions. That is what I call doing due diligence.
Buri Reborn wrote:
So, very specific comments, with citations of the rules, about individual cases, and detailed analysis — this, to you, is "no critical thought"? And the fact that you have no responses to any of my concrete points, but are commenting only in generalities — this is "critical thought", to you?
Aelreth's list was wrong, top to bottom. I explained why; you haven't refuted my points at all (nor have you acknowledged them, even the ones which you didn't bother to deny — rather a rude way to argue, by the way!). The situation you described, with the load-bearing beam, wasn't on his list — and indeed it's quite a rare and niche one. (And it, too, is unlikely to work — note the comments about weight!)
Thanks for the search keywords, though; I'll check out some of these.
Buri Reborn wrote:
The result of how you use the spell and what you do about are ENTIRELY up to the situation at hand.
Yeah, yeah. This is the sort of general platitude people retreat to, when they don't have anything to say about specifics.
I've made very concrete, very specific points.
Saying no because you don't see the point is quite laughably irrelevant.
I have no idea what you're even talking about here. Saying no to what? Don't see the point of what?
Plus, depending on the structure, a single load-bearing beam could easily cause a chain reaction. Have you not played any of the dozens of physics games out there about this?
I don't think I have, no. They sound interesting. Got some names / links?
That said: at this point, we've gone from:
"Shatter can smash through walls, smash holes in floors, cause ceilings to collapse, destroy doors, destroy cool enemy weapons, smash traps, etc."
"it's possible, in certain situations, depending on the structure you're in, and where you are in that structure, that you could shatter a key load-bearing beam (which you must first identify as being load-bearing — how many ranks in Knowledge (engineering) do you have?) and cause a ceiling collapse, if that beam weighs less than 10 lbs. per caster level (better hope you're pretty high level, and certainly not casting the spell from a wand — after all, even a 1-foot-thick, 8-foot-long pine beam will weigh ~260 lbs., and an oaken one of the same size will weigh a whopping ~360 lbs.!), and if the DM decides that this results in a chain reaction that collapses the ceiling, and also that the collapse of the ceiling harms your enemies but not you ..."
And, you know what? Sure! If you happen to find yourself in that fairly rare situation where a confluence of factors aligns in your favor, and you have the presence of mind to use a Shatter spell (and have one available) — great! I congratulate you on finding a clever use for a niche spell.
But that's not what Aelreth wrote, is it? He listed a set of broad cases, much too broad for Shatter to apply in even most, much less all of them (and some of the things he listed are just flat wrong — like the bit about an enemy's weapon).
Shatter is a niche spell with specific applications. It does the things it says it does. If you can find a clever use for it, within those restrictions — great. Good on you. But using it in the broad ways that Aelreth describes is clearly and blatantly against the rules.
Buri Reborn wrote:
If only the game supported those weights, Makhno. That's going to vary from table to table and even door to door. Also, very few manufacturing techniques combine pieces in such a way as to destroy a piece's individual cohesion. Just like you could use a crowbar to pry up a single board or knock out a single brick, there should be no reason you can't target such things with shatter.
The thickness of doors is given by the rules.
The composition and size is not, you're right. The only thing a GM has to go on is real-world doors. If the GM chooses to have his wooden doors be quite different from the way doors are in real life, well, that's his call. But at this point, you're relying, in order for your spell to function, on your GM choosing to make a specific ruling that a) is not grounded in rules text, b) deviates from reality, c) is in your favor.
By that measure, you can say that almost any spell can do almost anything; after all, the GM is free to make all sorts of rulings.
And that's just for wooden doors! What GM is going to rule that a 2" thick iron door, or a 4" thick stone door, weighs less than 150 or 100 pounds (or even less than 30 lbs. — the maximum weight affected by a Shatter spell cast from a wand)?! That's obviously wrong.
As for walls and floors: the idea that a "solid object" can mean "just one brick of a solidly mortared wall" or "just one floorboard of the floor" is quite the stretch. Walls and floors are generally dealt with in "10 x 10 foot sections" (see here, for example).
There's more: what if the bricks are covered with plaster? How do you propose to target each one? If carpeting covers the floor, how do you target a floorboard?
And, heck, say you can target a single floorboard or a single brick. Alright, you've destroyed a floorboard or a brick. That... doesn't actually destroy nearly enough of a wall or floor to break through it, cause it to collapse, etc. I mean — a single brick?! Come on. (Making a ceiling collapse in this manner is, if anything, even more absurd.)
Shatter doesn't do any of that. Not a single one of these examples actually works.
The spell affects a single non-magical object that weighs up to 10 pounds per caster level.
Locked door? Even a strong wooden door (2" thick) weighs 250 lbs. if oaken and 8' x 4' in size. You'd have to have a caster level of 25 to shatter it. Iron or stone? Much, much heavier. (And if the door is enchanted or affected by a spell, then you just can't shatter it ever, no matter how high your caster level.)
Enemy has a cool weapon? If it's magical (and how "cool" could it possibly be if it's non-magical), then Shatter can't affect it, period.
Trapped on the second floor of an inn? Cornered by an enemy? Too bad: neither the wall nor the floor weigh less than 10 pounds per caster level. Shatter is absolutely powerless against walls and floors.
Trap puzzles? Do they weigh less than 10 pounds per caster level, and are they also non-magical? If either of these conditions don't hold (which is quite likely), too bad; Shatter will do you no good whatsoever.
By all means, make your "Sonic Screw Driver"; your GM will have the last laugh as you slowly realize that you've wasted a bunch of money and crafting time on a useless item.
That all having been said, my ideal simple solution to "core 3.5 is what we want to run, but the lower-tier classes are kind of weak and that's no fun :(" is to use the Trailblazer rules. They fix what needs fixing, in straightforward ways (taking some great ideas from Pathfinder and adding a whole bunch of their own, rather ingenious, innovations).
(My ideal solution, period, is to design my own variant system. But I can't recommend this option to anyone else, because it's staggeringly effort-intensive.)
False comparison. You must compare Core 3.5 to Core PF, or "3.5 + splat" to "PF with Advanced *, Ultimate *, setting, etc.".
It's simply absurd to compare Core 3.5 to "PF with all the splat" — but that's what you're doing when you bring in archetypes. Under the proper comparisons, a 3.5 character can easily win. To wit:
Core vs. Core:
1. 3.5 druid beats any PF class. (Wild shape and animal companions both worked very differently in 3.5.)
2. Certain martial builds were better in 3.5; for example, a 3.5 spiked chain tripper is superior in almost every way to his PF counterpart.
3. Bards had certain advantages in 3.5 due to the way song effect durations worked.
Splat vs. Splat:
1. PF simply doesn't have some of the game-breaking combos that 3.5 splat allowed.
2. Certain magical spells and effects (polymorph / shapechange is just one example) were way, way more open to crazy-power-level exploits in 3.5.
3. The far, far greater selection / diversity, and much lower level of standardization, of prestige classes and certain other kinds of content (items, spells, etc.) in 3.5 meant that some truly titanic builds were possible: nightsticks and Divine Metamagic is not a thing in PF, for example; nor is Vow of Poverty; nor is Mindrape / Love's Pain for unavoidable infinite-range ignores-all-defenses assassination; etc., etc.
Edit: In short, if you allow both all 3.5 material and all PF material, and someone builds a PF character and someone else builds a 3.5 character (both at high optimization levels), the PF character doesn't stand a ghost of a chance.
Edit 2: Of course, you could bring in 3pp stuff to help the PF guy out, while still sticking to WotC-only for the 3.5 side; but I am reasonably sure that even then, the PF guy gets stomped easily.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I highly recommend looking into the Trailblazer combat reaction rules.
Some quick math with some (more or less arbitrarily selected) monsters:
Small Air Elemental
- current AC 17
- new AC 16
Small Earth Elemental
Giant Spider (Medium)
- current AC 19
- new AC 16
- current AC 22
- new AC 16
Young Adult Black Dragon
Mature Adult Red Dragon
- current AC 32
- new AC 20
One thing that strikes me about the effect of these rules is that monsters gain touch AC and lose regular AC (while gaining DR). This favors big hitters (two-handed weapon types) while disfavoring people who hit more times but for less damage, as well as anyone who relied on touch attacks (such as some casters).
It seems that, past a certain level, monsters at CR = APL will be essentially auto-hittable with this rule. At roughly what level will this actually happen? My estimate is approx. level 6-8. Which you may be totally ok with, given that you're doing E6; this would actually let you throw higher-CR monsters at the party, and have them be challenging (due to lots of HP/DR, attacks, etc.) without being unhittable by the party.
But, if it becomes a problem (PCs hitting monsters too easily), one thing that might make combats a little more interesting is either some sort of "active defense" (e.g. the Trailblazer combat reaction rules that let someone attempt to dodge individual attacks), or some way of converting attack bonus to more damage (in the vein of Power Attack) or some other effect like bleed, or both.
 To be clear, what I mean by this is that monsters become easier to hit with things that are "attacks vs. regular AC" in the standard system, while becoming harder to hit with things that are "attacks vs. touch AC" in the standard system.
Edit: I am still thinking about this and rewriting as I go
Question: in your system, do you differentiate between touch AC and regular AC?
(Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I am not familiar with Paizo's take on this variant; I know it from 3.5's Unearthed Arcana, and my own version of it.)
Also, do monster hit dice figure into this at all? Or do you more or less assume that a monster has (in its official stats) appropriate nat. armor for its CR/HD and its role, and then just convert the nat. armor into Defense bonus and DR, without considering its CR or HD?
Another question re: monsters: how does the DR they gain from nat. armor conversion interact with any DR they might already have? Does it just overlap?
What sort of total Defense numbers do monsters at various CRs end up with?
I've played around with similar rules for a low-magic variant system I'm working on. This is similar to how I approached it. Some thoughts:
You say "This bonus does not apply to CMD", but wouldn't it actually be simpler to use the Base Defense Bonus instead of BAB in the CMD calculation? With just a little adjustment, couldn't you unify Defense and CMD into one stat that way? (In another variant system I'm designing, I've already unified attack bonus and CMB, and it's definitely simpler that way.)
Re: shields: the way I did it, shields provide a Defense bonus rather than DR; +1 for buckler, +2 for light, +4 for heavy, +6 for tower.
(Caveat: I haven't playtested this, just done a lot of theorycraft and thinking.)
P.S. I'm glad to see someone working on this, this is a variant I've always found appealing!
I've got an idea for one for my homebrew campaign, but I have no idea where to start. Any suggestions welcome!
There is a psionic lich template in Bruce Cordell's excellent adventure module If Thoughts Could Kill. It's for 3.5, but it shouldn't be hard to adapt it for Pathfinder and Dreamscarred Press's psionics rules.
One of the villains of the adventure is a pretty badass psionic lich. (His base of operations is a mini-dungeon built into the dimensionally-expanded inside of a Huge skeletal bear. Sort of an undead-bear-TARDIS. The lich rides in the bear's head and blasts his enemies with psionic powers through the bear's eye sockets.)
d8 with rerolling 1s:
(4.5 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8) / 8 = 4.9375
d8 with rerolling 1s and 2s:
(4.5 + 4.5 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8) / 8 = 5.25
Seems better than with d6s, actually.
Just a note — the distribution of d20 rolls is not the normal (Gaussian) distribution, but the uniform distribution. (This makes a difference; the normal distribution has many 10s and 11s but few 1s and 20s; the uniform distribution has as many 1s as 20s as 10s as 15s etc.)
Mark Hoover wrote:
Oh my god, that's EXACTLY the movie that popped into my mind when I wrote this!
Yeah, I like my settings to be rather more... organic. As you described. The idea that the PCs just never have the option of doing anything interesting in a city, for example, is offputting.
Yeah, I've always thought the West Marches concept is silly, for more or less this reason (and related ones):
1. There's no plot (or metaplot).
Come to think of it, West Marches might be interesting as a sort of existential horror campaign, where the PCs slowly realize that the world they are in is not real, has no existence outside of this one region; that even the "city" doesn't exist beyond the small trade district they've seen; and that they can't... ever... escape... no matter how much they try...
This thing here — an item set consisting of five items (two gauntlets, pair of boots, breastplate, helm). It was one of the major focusing points of an entire years-long campaign. (Detailed item powers redacted for length.)
The Grand Sultan of the efreet wore the Armor into battle during his campaign of interplanar conquest, but he was defeated by an alliance of Good-aligned heroes and creatures. The Armor was scattered across the planes; but many years later, parts of it began to find their way to the Material Plane...
The Armor of the Grand Sultan: Created by the late, half-human Grand Sultan of the efreeti to grant himself power and control over his recalcitrant subjects, and composed of several semi-independent parts, this armor is impressive indeed. Though the individual and synergistic powers of the set pieces are described at length below, wearing the entire armor grants several formidable and unique powers to its fortunate owner.
For one, the unified armor magically binds itself to its wearer, and maintains this bond regardless of distance. The first person to don the entire set becomes the armor's recognized owner; thenceforth, he may take a standard action to recall the armor to him, provided he is located on the same plane as all its parts. (Otherwise this power functions as the called armor enhancement.) The only way to unbind the armor from its owner is to kill him, then scatter the armor's parts throughout the planes.
When the entire armor is worn, all the onyx gems set into it (one in each glove and each boot, one in the breastplate, and three in the helm) are searing hot to the touch, and a bright fire can be seen burning in their centers.
Breastplate: This +5 breastplate is made of brass, but due to the intense process of its creation, is hardened to provide a +5 bonus to AC (+10 total with the enhancement bonus). The entire armor provides a +7 bonus to AC (+12 total with enhancement bonus). The surface is engraved with various arcane symbols describing powerful abjurations, and is decorated with flames dancing around the armor's edges. A large onyx gem is set into the center, directly above a human wearer's heart.
The breastplate's primary function being protective, it has a variety of functions related to shielding the wearer from the fiery doom that the other parts of the armor are designed to inflict.
Helmet: This elaborate brass helmet, which is set with three onyx gems, seems mostly decorative, and does not provide much protection. It is crafted, however, in such a way as not to obscure vision, and it is a comfortable fit for any Medium-sized wearer. When worn, the helm appears to burst into flame, giving off a continual flame effect, and making it effectively impossible to hide. This effect cannot be dispelled, and is not suppressed in any sort of magical darkness.
The simplest power of the helmet becomes obvious the first time the wearer lights a bonfire; the helm permits the wearer to see through mundane or magical fire and smoke of any kind perfectly; opponents obscured by such smoke do not benefit from any concealment against the helm's wearer.
The primary purpose of the helmet is control. It serves to focus the energies of the rest of the armor into coherent powers. When worn separately from the entirety of the armor, this controlling magic attempts to exert itself in strange ways.
Boots: These tall, almost knee-high boots are made of brass, and engraved with images of fire and smoke. Though they are entirely metallic, they are nonetheless comfortable for any Medium-sized wearer. A small onyx gem is set deep into the heel of each boot. When when the boots are worn, small wisps of dark smoke rise from them continuously, giving off a faint sulfuric odor.
Inspired and powered by the Paraelemental Plane of Smoke, the boots were designed by the Grand Sultan to aid in travel and, should the situation require it, escape.
Gloves: These brass gauntlets are too thin and flimsy to provide any real protective value, and a character wielding them is not considered armed. However, they are quite ornate, and a highly polished black onyx gem is set into the middle of the palm of each glove.
The purpose of the gloves is offensive in nature: the Grand Sultan imbued with them with the ability to generate elemental energy. The Quasielemental Planes of Radiance and Ash are the inspiration and source of the gloves' power.
Yes, this seems to work.
Ok, let's clarify, to make sure I understand what's going on. The character starts out Medium. The bastard sword starts out Large.
The Rules said wrote:
As I understand it, your player's argument (with my commentary in parentheses) is like this:
1. The bastard sword is a one-handed weapon, with which he is, by default, not proficient. (He cannot wield it in one hand, even with a -4 nonproficiency penalty; this is different from the way nonproficiency works with most weapons. See http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/weapons/weapon-descriptions/sword -bastard.)
When he enlarges with the weapon in hand, it enlarges with him; since the difference in the size category of weapon and wielder does not change, the above reasoning likewise stays unchanged.
Then, when he throws it, and it reduces in size, it comes back to him, now a Large weapon on a Large wielder. It remains a one-handed weapon by default (as bastard swords always are); he remains proficient with it (thus able, by default, to wield it one-handed); and it is now the same size as he is, thus not changing either of those things from their defaults. He can now wield the sword as a one-handed weapon with no penalty; he does not (while enlarged) incur the -2 penalty from wielding an inappropriately sized weapon.
As for the damage calculation... his Strength bonus is +5. (+6 when enlarged). Thrown weapons add 1x Strength modifier to damage. On a critical hit, that would be +12. Four levels of fighter get him Weapon Specialization (I assume), for another +2 (+4 on crit). That's +16. Where are we getting the other +8?
That aside, keep in mind that if your player were using a longsword instead of a bastard sword, those numbers would be very similar; a Large longsword does 2d6 damage, and a Huge one does 3d6. I'm not quite sure that I'd spend a feat on EWP, given those numbers, but otherwise, and contingent on the damage calculation being correct, the trick seems to work.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
And as a side note, I just love how this thread has become a RT debate rather than a 'Let's fix broken spells' discussion. Let's partay like it's 2000!
Right you are. Let us waste no more breath on rope trick. Instead:
Other things that need fixed.
I think that spells that grant immunity to things should go. Pretty much all of them. (I am open to individual exceptions, but can't think of any offhand.)
I refer to spells such as:
freedom of movement
In 3.5, these made you outright immune to grappling, death effects and energy drain, and mind-affecting effects and most divinations, respectively.
Pathfinder did a bit of nerfing. Death ward now makes you immune only to negative energy, not death effects (against which it only provides a save); mind blank gives a bonus to saves against mind-affecting. Freedom of movement still makes you immune to grappling.
I say all these spells should be nerfed; they should grant immunity to nothing. Spells, especially if they last a minute per level, 10 minutes per level, or 24 hours, should not just make you immune to things. Immunities are uninteresting; they just eliminate a whole swath of possible tactics. They disregard the relative power levels of opponents; they contribute to the annoying issue of fights with casters always, tediously, opening with dispels.
At a certain level, you are of course going to go into every major battle with freedom of movement, which means that grappling is entirely eliminated as a category of threat; many mid-to-high level creatures have grapple-based powers, which are all rendered entirely moot by this spell. You don't have to adjust your tactics to compensate; you don't have to plan with them in mind; you just cast this one buff, as part of your standard buff routine, and put it out of your mind. Mind blank? Of course you have it on; put it on your martials, and now an entire massive category of threats (all mind-affecting spells, of which there are lots and lots and lots) is eliminated from consideration. Expect any chance at all of facing undead? Death ward yourself, just in case. Why not? Now a whole swath of creatures can't harm you, at all, with their primary, defining powers.
Instead, these spells should function as either bonuses to saves, or buffers, or some combination thereof. Freedom of movement might give a +8 bonus to CMD and EA vs. grapples, for instance. Death ward, rather than granting immunity to negative energy, might function more like 3.0 negative energy protection, where the warded creature may roll a check against the attack, which, if successful, negates it (and deals positive energy damage to the attacker). Or it could be a buffer, similar to protection from energy, being discharged after some number of negative energy attacks. And so forth. I don't know, I'm just throwing out ideas. The point is, outright immunities: no.
The point isn't that the spell is problematic for doing exactly what it's supposed to do (like, uh, almost all spells...), the point is that what the spell does is inherently problematic.
Remy Balster wrote:
Exactly how much do people get done in 5 minutes?
Quite a bit, considering that 5-15 minutes is enough to cast all of your short-duration buffs and have several big fights, if you can get to them quickly enough. (Which, past a certain level, is trivial. Especially in a dungeon.)
My Kingmaker group cleared a small dungeon in less than 10 minutes recently. It was maybe 3-5 fights, of which a couple were large-ish.
And how fun is it to spend, literally the entire day, sitting in an empty void with nothing to do?
"How much fun (for the characters) is it to do this overpowered thing" is not any kind of a good argument. If the overpowered thing provides a massive advantage, then the players will do it. It's not like they're the ones who have to sit there the whole day; the characters are sitting there the whole day, while in real life, only as much time passes as it takes to say "we sit in the rope trick the whole day".
Besides, maybe they play cards. Maybe the bard entertains them all with songs. Maybe they get real creative with the munchkinry and the wizard scribes some scrolls while the archer fletches some arrows. Sky's the limit!
And who in their right mind would ever do that all the time? Or... like, ever?
Many people, much of the time. This is a thing people do.
Every minute you spend sitting on your butt doing absolutely nothing is a minute the world continues to tick on by, stuff happens while PCs waste time. Usually it is 'bad stuff'.
Usually irrelevant if it's a dungeon. (Most dungeons aren't very reactive.) And in general, not all adventures are that time-constrained.
And even if you are time-constrained, the constraint often is: how many big, buffed boss fights can you get done in a day? Continuing to adventure and generally walk around after you've expended your daily resources doesn't help you get more big fights done in a single day (in fact it increases the probability that you'll get into a fight and lose due to lack of resources, and death really cuts into your schedule) so you lose nothing, time-wise, by safely hiding in a rope trick.
And... the rope trick can be spotted, too. "The rope cannot be removed or hidden." So it isn't exactly the best possible way to hide. It is useful, certainly... but hardly problematic.
Well, keep in mind this wasn't true in 3.5. So yes, Pathfinder nerfed it a bit. (Although see my comments earlier in the thread about cutting the rope and so forth.)
Bad guys can just crawl on up into your rope trick while the party is all fast asleep. And then more 'bad stuff' happens.
Obviously you put someone on watch. Come on.
And since only one person can climb the rope at a time, and they can't even see the extradimensional window (and you CAN see them coming), it's almost trivially easy to surprise them with a nice gang-up the moment they poke their head into the space. After the first orc pokes his head up into nowhere, is promptly murdered, and falls off the rope, his face and head mangled nearly to unrecognizability with a combination of blades and spell blasts... how eager will the other orcs be to proceed? (And even if they are, you can go ahead and keep murdering them, too.)
Climbing up into a rope trick with the intent of assaulting the occupants is pretty much the worst idea, in short. Now, if you'd said: "A cleric comes by and dispels the rope trick" — ok, then we have a more interesting scenario. Still not spell-nerfingly catastrophic — but interesting.
Um, guys, the point is not that you use rope trick to regain spells more than once a day. That's crazy; no one is suggesting that (except you two, apparently), it's never been considered legal, and it's certainly not the source of rope trick's brokenness.
The reason the spell is broken is because you regain spells, go out and nova things for 15 minutes, and then spend the rest of the day just hanging out. And then when it comes time to sleep, or if anything threatening comes your way, you climb into the rope trick and sleep / relax in there.
To go back to my previous Ravenloft example, one of the things that are supposed to make that adventure scary is that spending the night in the castle is anywhere from spooky to terrifying; all manner of things roam the halls of Ravenloft at night, and they will come upon you while you sleep, quietly subdue whoever's on watch, and feast on your delicious blood / life energy / etc.
But if you've got rope trick, then all of that is moot. Anytime you feel like not exploring anymore, you just plop yourself down wherever you are and hang out, and when it's time to sleep, you all climb into the extradimensional space and sleep soundly, knowing that you're immune to anything and everything that might walk by. Heck, you can prepare three rope tricks (or make some scrolls) and have 24 hours of coverage at level 8! You are exposed to the dangers of the scary world of adventuring for exactly as many minutes in a day as you choose to be, and not one second more.
This whole business with regaining spells twice a day or what have you is one colossal red herring.
Night attacks aren't dickery, they are a completely reasonable threat when you're resting in enemy territory.
Meanwhile, the whole "the rope cannot be removed or hidden" stipulation is actually kinda strange, when you think about it*. Ok, so 16,000 pounds of force pulls the rope free. Then what? Does the spell end when that happens? Or what? What if, instead of pulling at the rope, you cut it? It's a regular rope, right? Just take your sword to it, cut it off? Or is the rope invulnerable somehow? If not, how close to the dimensional boundary can you make that cut? Can you just have a millimeter of rope dangling out? That seems like it'd be hard to spot, yeah?
*As is most magic-related rules text that says "you can't X", rather than "if X happens, then Y results".
The Arcatraz dungeon from World of Warcraft (Burning Crusade) could be a source of ideas.
See, the Arcatraz is an alien prison ship, once crewed by good-aligned aliens (who were forced to abandon ship), and inside are kept various creatures — demons, aliens, criminals. Some are in stasis (and the PCs might inadvertently, or intentionally, let them loose). Some have broken free, allied with others, and entrenched themselves in parts of the ship. Some are simply rampaging. There are also security robots, some of which are malfunctioning and berserk.
The aesthetics of the place are also pretty cool — all crystals and force fields and light.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Heh. Yeah, I don't actually advocate solving rope trick that way; it's just the simplest way to solve it without house ruling.
My favorite rope trick solution was one I instituted in a Ravenloft (original module, not setting) game I ran. You see,
Ravenloft is filled with this evil mist that, once you breathe it, you need to keep breathing to survive; if you leave Ravenloft before defeating Strahd, you immediately start to choke from the absence of the mist, and soon suffocate. (Destroying Strahd causes the mist to disperse and the affliction to be cured.)
So when the PCs cast a rope trick and climbed in, I told them they start choking. Turns out (thus I ruled), the mist won't diffuse past the dimensional boundary. There sure was weeping and gnashing of teeth that day, I tell ya what.
Wait, banning things is finicky? Or do you mean duration-nerfing? I don't actually think there's a way to boost things to 24hrs in PF, by the way, but if there is, then that's where the actual problem lies — balancing things by making them short-duration should be a thing, and an ability that lets you ignore the duration limitations of a broad spectrum of things is not balanced.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
As to what value RT has beyond breaking the game's already shaky balance -- it was originally merely another of the wizard's tricks, which may or may not have proven useful on any given day. It lasted mere minutes, so it could be a temporary escape from threats that didn't know the party's exact location, or as a means to spy on monsters who wandered by the invisible door, or even as a means to reach otherwise unreachable ledges and surfaces.
Hm, yeah, that all seems pretty situationally useful (and open to creative use, which is good). I think nerfing the duration would be a simple, straightforward, and therefore (imo) desirable fix.
Yes, yes, yes, and...er, gazebos are by definition open on all sides, so I don't know how to answer that last one. I'm being imprecise here because I've never actually used this house rule; if you did, presumably you'd be more precise. The point is to create a world where people know how to build fortifications in such a way as to block teleportation. And a campaign in which you, the DM, don't have to worry about the PCs teleporting directly into the BBEG's throne room.
My point there wasn't so much to ask you to peg specific cases (although just what architectural details demarcate the boundary between "house with large, open windows" and "gazebo" is an obvious remaining question), but to point out that your proposed solution requires the DM to come up with such details. I am not a fan of "finicky" solutions, ones that force me to make such detailed determinations, and to rethink and redesign things as basic as how houses are built; plus, do you really look forward to having your players ask you for the precise architectural descriptions of every location they find themselves in? I sure don't. I far prefer simple, "cut-the-knot" style solutions.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
"Enclosed", you say. How enclosed does "enclosed" have to be? Parapet of a castle: not enclosed? House with open windows: enclosed? Cavern system with no doors, open to the surface in places: enclosed? Interior of a gazebo (with thick walls): not enclosed?
I read it, I just didn't make the connection to the discussion of hazards and whatnot. I get it now.
It seems to me that a DM is well within his right to point out the "hazards" phrasing the first time the PCs ever use rope trick; and if they subsequently use it without stowing their bags of holding elsewhere, to hit the party with a planar rift — the closest rule-covered situation, after all, is the bag-hole interaction.
That said, if I were starting a campaign now, I'd ban rope trick outright. I admit there are modifications of it that would make it balanced — yours possibly among them (I haven't thought about it hard enough to make up my mind) — but unless it becomes clear to me what value the spell has other than a place to rest safely, I would simply avoid the work of balancing it, and just toss it.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
2. I see PF edited out the vague reference to 'hazards' in the rope trick spell, which is a step forward. (How many inane debates did we endure during 3.x involving the interpretation of 'hazard'?)
To what do you refer, here? I've never seen such a debate in any group I've been in, and I am curious what it could be about. Is it the bit about taking extradimensional spaces into the rope trick?
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
So... you can't teleport out of your house. Or into your friend's house. You can only teleport from outdoors to outdoors. But wait. Isn't there wood, metal, or stone between any two sufficiently distant outdoor locations? Like, trees? Rocks? The ground? Are we handwaving all of that away?
This has potential, but I get a "this will surely have issues that I can't think of right now" feeling from it. Bears consideration.
1. What is required to create the scroll? Where do you have to be? On the spot? How long does it take? Does it cost anything?
As for banning... I generally agree with not removing variety... but those two spells don't add variety in any meaningful sense. They just add power. They're not interesting. (In my opinion.)
And there's a bigger issue: if you commit to not removing variety, and also allow all Paizo material, then you make yourself a slave to the continual addition of variety (or "variety"). At some point, more variety is too much. Also, there lies power creep.
I think you can say "I will stick to core, and not remove variety", or you can say "I will allow non-core material, but I will be selective about all material I allow, core included"; but saying "I will allow all material, nonselectively" is setting yourself up for trouble.
Wait, what? My copy of UM has no such component... what are you referring to?
What do you think of my proposals? [...]
Teleport, coordinate scrolls: I confess I don't understand the mechanic. Could you clarify, maybe provide an example?
My immediate reaction is: this is too complex / too hard to understand a mechanic. I like simple, straightforward solutions.
Blood money: ban it.
Paragon surge: ban it.
There's no need for complex solutions to spells that aren't compelling enough to keep and do nothing interesting but add power to casters.
Charm, Dominate: requires more thought. Rich Burlew's Diplomacy rules may be part of the solution; I sort-of-use them myself.
Holy crap, that article is so bad. A DM instituting a set of suggestions like that would make me really angry. I would definitely not play in a game like that.
The only thing I like is the "ley lines" modification to teleport. Otherwise... UGH.
However, I do agree that there are problematic spells. When I'm not hurrying to catch a bus, I'll see about a list, with some suggestions.
Yes, the conversions of the White Plume Mountain weapons, and other old stuff, is one of the reasons why I love the A&EG like, this much.
(Also the vehicle rules.)